Author Sir VS Naipaul dies at 85

Getty Images

Novelist Sir VS Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize for literature, died at his home in London at the age of 85 years, his family have said.

Sir Vidia, who is born in rural Trinidad, in 1932, was known for works including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr. Biswas.

The author, who has written more than 30 books, won the Booker Prize in 1971 and the Nobel Prize for literature in 2001.

His wife Lady Naipaul has called a “giant in all that he has succeeded.”

She said he died “surrounded by those he loved, having lived a life that is full of wonderful creativity and effort”.

Geordie Greig, editor of the Mail on Sunday and a close friend of Sir Vidia, said that his death leaves a “gaping hole in Britain’s literary heritage”, but there was “no doubt” that his “books live”.

On social media, fans pay tribute to Sir Vidia and expressed their sadness.

Author Anand Giridharadas has said he has “learned a lot” from him, while the writer Jeet Heer has called a “powerful writer” who “at its best approached Conrad and even the shadow of Dickens”.

The beauty of the writer Patrice Yursik called Sir Vidia a “titan of the literature of the Caribbean”.

A fan has said, “no one has inspired me to read more of Naipaul”, while another tweeted that his novel A House for Mr. Biswas “stayed with me as a lasting memory for 30+ years”.

Nick Harvey

Sir Vidia, who as a child was reading Shakespeare and Dickens by his father, was raised a Hindu and attended Queen’s Royal College in Trinidad.

He moved to great Britain and enrolled at the University of Oxford in 1950, after winning a scholarship from the government by giving it access to a university of the Commonwealth of his choice.

As a student, he struggled with depression and attempted suicide.

His first book, The Mystic Masseur, was published in 1951 and, a decade later, he published his most famous novel, A House for Mr. Biswas, which has taken over three years to write.

The Nobel Prize for literature committee has received a note from him to have “organization perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of the deletion of stories”.

He added: “Naipaul is a modern philosopher. In a vigilant style, which has been justly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own irony.”

His first wife, Patricia Hale, died in 1996 and he has continued to marry Pakistani journalist, Nadira.

Sir Vidia was honest and is known for criticism of Tony Blair – who he described as a “pirate” – as well as Charles Dickens and EM Forster.

He also fell with the American travel writer Paul Theroux, who had been the mentor, in a bitter 15-year feud after Theroux discovered a book he gave Naipaul in a second-hand bookstore. Later, they gathered together.